Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive Review: Mazda 3 - 13th Report
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Our Fleet Test Drive Review: Mazda 3 - 13th Report

Date: 16 April 2010   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Post office
Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £18,260
Key rival: Ford Focus

Motorsport geeks excepted, not an awful lot of people know that Mazda is the only Japanese manufacturer to win the Le Mans 24-hour endurance classic, a feat it achieved in 1991.

But while the MX-5 and the RX rotary-engined series have functioned as parallel sporting imprint within the brand, Mazda's mainstream products, particularly the 323 and previous 3, have not set the heather alight in terms of driving dynamics.

But our 3 Sport demonstrates that the engineers who developed the car's chassis understood that getting from A to B and along windy roads to Z could and should be a rewarding experience behind the wheel in a relatively conventional lower medium hatchback.

This was underlined recently when a couple of trips involved leaving later than planned and, ultimately, arriving earlier than scheduled, legally and with nerves intact. Yes the 3 has a flexible and muscular 150PS diesel with well-matched six-speed manual gearbox, but they would be wasted without roadholding, feedback and composure that combine the sharpness of a Focus with the refinement of a Golf.

Mazda 3 2.2d 150PS Sport 5-door manual
Claimed combined
Our average consumption45.0mpg
P11D price£18,260
Model price range£13,500 -£21,500
CO2 (tax) 144g/km/19%
BIK 20/40% per month£58/£116
Service interval12,500mls
Insurancegroup 10E
Boot space (min/max)300/1360 litres
Engine size/power2184cc/150PS
Top speed/0-62mph127mph/9.2secs
Why we’re running itCan it step up to its
class mark like the 6?
PositiveStops as well as it goes
NegativeBadly placed handbrake